A New Jersey couple who raised $400,000 for a homeless veteran was ordered by a judge Thursday to hand over the remainder of the money they’d been withholding from him.
Homeless man Johnny Bobbitt gave stranded motorist Kate McClure his last $20 last fall. In response, McClure and her boyfriend Mark D’Amico set up a GoFundMe out of gratitude. The story went viral and they raised approximately $400,000.
But McClure and D’Amico said that Bobbitt had begun to spend the money on drugs, and decided to withhold some of it for his benefit. In response, Bobbitt filed a lawsuit.
“I wish it didn’t come to this,” said Bobbitt, who is reportedly now back on the streets. “I hate that it came to this.”
The judge ordered that the money be removed from McClure and D’Amico’s bank accounts, and placed in a third-party escrow fund until the case concludes.
“I always felt like I was in a weird situation. I didn’t want to be pressuring to get a lawyer or do anything because I didn’t want to seem ungrateful,” Bobbitt told Philadelphia TV station ABC6 after the ruling.
He estimated he had so far received around $75,000, which included two vehicles bought by the couple in their names rather than his, which were then sold, according to Action News. “I had to ask them for everything in the beginning. It was like a joke, they were like my parents, but the joke starts not being funny,” he said.
Lawyers for McClure and D’Amico said Bobbitt had received over $200,000 worth of goods and services.
The couple claimed that they had spent around half the money on a house for Bobbitt. However ABC6 reported that reporters had received an anonymous tip that they were spending some of the money raised for Bobbitt on themselves. Social media accounts for the couple included photos of vacations, trips to a Broadway show and a designer handbag in recent months, according to the TV station.
McClure and D’Amico deny spending the money, which came out to about $360,000 after GoFundMe’s fees, on themselves.
“I think it might have been good intentions in the beginning, but with that amount of money, I think it became greed,” Bobbitt told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The judge ordered a complete accounting to be done on McClure and D’Amico’s finances to determine if any fundraiser money had been spent improperly.